Anniversaries are stupid

By Damian O'Broin - Jan 14 2021

Fifteen years ago I woke up with a hangover, no job and a grand plan for starting my own business.


'Grand plan’ might be pushing it. My ‘grand plan’ was: Quit job. Start business. See what happens.


As it happens, quite a lot did indeed happen.


Ask Direct is now 15 years old.


When I talk to clients about anniversaries, I generally tell them that anniversaries are irrelevant and no one cares how old your organisation is.


This is – in the main – true.


As a donor, I really don’t care if you’re 10, or 25 or 50 years old. I care about what you’re going to do now, and how I can help you to change the world today.


Yet we are continually drawn to birthdays and anniversaries, to the special years ending in 5 or 0. Marking the passage of time, the achievements we’ve shared and the fact that we’re still standing (something that seems particularly relevant after the last twelve months).


And where I think anniversaries have a relevance is in allowing us to reflect on our beginnings and why we came to be.  What were the values and vision that inspired us to embark on this journey? How are they still relevant now?


I always say that I’m an activist who became a fundraiser. And Ask Direct was born out of that – a desire to help the organisations and causes I cared about to do more to their great work.


That is the case today, just as it was back in 2006.

Oxfam press ad 2006

Ask Direct's very first press ad for Oxfam Ireland, 2006. 


Our job is inspire as many people to take action for the causes they care about. Because we’ll only get a better world if people give their time, money and voice to build it.


I feel incredibly privileged that in Ask Direct we get to work with so many amazing organisations – developing insight, generating ideas and executing campaigns that result in more people, taking more actions, to create more impact.


Fifteen years on from 2006, as we look around at the devastation caused by the pandemic, the rise of neo-fascism, the crushing inequalities at both national and global levels and the continuing crisis of climate change and environmental collapse, it’s clear that we need more impact than ever.


So once we’ve taken a moment to reflect and to celebrate everything we’ve achieved over the last 15 years, we’ll be getting right back into it. We have strategies to develop. Research to carry out. Ideas to test. Campaigns to finish. And most importantly, people to inspire.


To all of you who have shared this journey over the last fifteen years, thank you – our amazing staff, our fantastic clients, our trustworthy suppliers, our wonderful freelancers and associates, all the friends we’ve made in the fundraising community around the world who’ve been a source of inspiration and support… we couldn’t have done it without you.


Now, let’s go change the world.



The header photo shows Damian (hair slightly darker. Wrinkles slightly less wrinkly) from the original Ask Direct website in 2006. 


Damian O'Broin     @damianobroin


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